Child Support vs. Child Custody

January 24, 2022

When you and your child’s other parent are no longer in a relationship, you’ll need to work out issues of child support and child custody. These are two different, yet interrelated legal concepts—for example, the amount of custody awarded may impact your liability for child support. Some parents wonder whether getting primary or 50/50 custody will ensure they don’t have to pay child support.

As usual, the answer to that question depends on the individual circumstances of your divorce or child-rearing arrangement, as well as Florida family laws and court rulings. For this reason, it’s wise to seek counsel from an experienced family lawyer.

The following is a brief overview of the differences between child support and child custody, and how these two concepts interact.

Child support

Courts take the obligation to provide for one’s children very seriously. When parents separate or divorce, they won’t share expenses and time in the same way they may have before. Typically, the expenses fall on the parent with primary custody, so the noncustodial parent is ordered to pay child support. This helps offset the financial burden associated with raising a child.

Child support is calculated according to the parent’s financial resources and how much time they spend with their child. Even if you get 50/50 custody, you may be entitled to or liable for child support. It’s relatively rare that both parents have equal financial resources and time with their child to the point where a court won’t order some amount of additional support. Again, this is based on individual circumstances, so a lawyer is in the best position to advise you.

Child custody

There are two types of custody: physical and legal. Physical custody is when the child is in the parent’s presence. This could be 50 percent of the time, every other weekend or some other schedule that works for the parents and child. This is the only type of custody that affects child support awards.

Legal custody is decision-making ability. If you share legal custody, both parents will have a say in the child’s medical care, school, religious upbringing and other important decisions.
A parent can be awarded both full physical and legal custody, or they may share each type of custody with the co-parent.

Child custody is determined by a number of factors, including the age of the child, whether they’re old enough to express a preference, location, work schedules, access to childcare when necessary and the parent’s general fitness to have custody. For example, if one parent has a history of felony convictions, domestic violence incidents and substance abuse, they are far less likely to be granted physical custody. They may also be denied legal custody, although again, this is determined on a case-by-case basis.

When you have questions about child support and child custody matters, the Law Offices of Granoff & Kessler can help. Get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation, and let us guide you through the Florida family court system. We look forward to learning about the specifics of your case.

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